Sunday, July 15, 2012 - 11:30 p.m.
Julie Arbuckle discovered the body and contacted 911. Detectives Armstrong and Murphy interviewed her in the office of the Whitehall Community Center. The interview was recorded on a portable tape recorder with the witnesses' knowledge and consent.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- Julie Arbuckle
Detective Armstrong: Ma'am, thank you for waiting to talk with us. We appreciate your patience.
Julie Arbuckle: I understand. I want to help. This is just awful.
Detective Armstrong: Would you state your name, age, and address please?
Julie Arbuckle: I'm Julie Arbuckle. I'm 48 years old, and I live right over there at 142 County Road 140.
Detective Murphy: Thank you. Now, ma'am, could you tell us what happened here tonight?
Julie Arbuckle: Someone died here tonight, an important member of this community.
Detective Murphy: Yes, ma'am. Can you tell us how you happened to be here so late at night?
Julie Arbuckle: Ambrose's wife called me. She's at work and couldn't get in touch with him to tell him she was going to work a double shift. Oh my God. Delilah! I've got to call her. She's waiting for me to call her back. How am I going to tell her?
Detective Murphy: We'll take care of notifying Mrs. Garrett. You don't need to worry about that. You say she's at work? Where does she work?
Julie Arbuckle: She's a nurse at Baptist Memorial. She's there right now.
Detective Murphy: Does she typically work nights?
Julie Arbuckle: Yes. I think so. Well, not nights exactly. She works the second shift. She goes in around mid-afternoon and comes home around midnight, I think.
Detective Armstrong: And she was trying to reach her husband tonight?
Julie Arbuckle: Yes, but she couldn't find him.
Detective Armstrong: She tried to call him?
Julie Arbuckle: Yes, she called him at home. I don't know how many times, but I got the impression it was more than once.
Detective Armstrong: And why did she call you?
Julie Arbuckle: We're friends. She wanted my help.
Detective Armstrong: Yes, ma'am. I understand this is upsetting. I'm asking why she called you specifically for help in contacting her husband.
Julie Arbuckle: I'm sorry. I don't know what's wrong with me. This is just so…
Detective Armstrong: Yes, ma'am.
Julie Arbuckle: She called me because I live so close to the community center.
Detective Armstrong: Yes, ma'am.
Julie Arbuckle: She knew there was an association meeting tonight. She thought maybe Ambrose had stayed late or something. She wanted me to come over and see if he was here.
Detective Murphy: What time did she call you?
Julie Arbuckle: I'm not sure. 9:30 maybe? What time is it now? She's been waiting for me to call her back for a long time. God knows what she thinks. I need to call her.
Detective Armstrong: It's all right, ma'am. We'll talk to her. You don't need to worry about that. So she called you around 9:30 and you said you'd come over and look for him.
Julie Arbuckle: Yes. I had no idea what‒
Detective Murphy: When she called you, how long had it been since the meeting ended?
Julie Arbuckle: I don't know. Hours.
Detective Murphy: How many hours?
Julie Arbuckle: I don't know. Two. Three. What difference does it make?
Detective Armstrong: Just a few more questions, ma'am, and then you can go home for tonight. Was it unusual for Mr. Garrett to stay late after a meeting like that? I mean, were you surprised that his wife thought he might still be here?
Julie Arbuckle: I don't know. I don't know everything he does. He stayed late sometimes. He was still here when I left, so I suppose I thought it was possible he was still here.
Detective Armstrong: Did you think that was strange? That he might still be here?
Julie Arbuckle: I don't know. I didn't think much about it either way. Delilah asked me to come look, so I did. When a friend asks you for help, you help them. You don't stop to consider whether their request is reasonable or logical. You just do it.
Detective Murphy: When you arrived at the community center, was the exterior door locked?
Julie Arbuckle: I don't know. No, I don't think so.
Detective Murphy: And were the lights on or off inside the building?
Julie Arbuckle: The lights were on in the meeting room where ‒ I'm sorry ‒ where Ambrose was.
Detective Murphy: What about in the rest of the building?
Julie Arbuckle: I don't know. I didn't go everywhere. I think just the lights that stay on all the time were on. What are they called? I don't know. It doesn't matter. Just those were on.
Detective Armstrong: Was the door to the meeting room open or closed when you arrived?
Julie Arbuckle: Open, I think. I don't know. I wasn't really paying attention.
Detective Murphy: Did you touch anything in the meeting room? The door, the furniture, the light switch, the table where Mr. Garrett was sitting, Mr. Garrett himself?
Julie Arbuckle: No, I don't think so. I saw him, and I just knew something was terribly wrong. I called 911 on my cell phone.
Detective Murphy: You brought your cell phone with you?
Julie Arbuckle: Yes, I wanted to be able to call Delilah back.
Detective Murphy: You didn't want to use a phone in the community center?
Julie Arbuckle: There's no phone in the meeting room and‒ well, I just thought it would be better to have my cell phone.
Detective Murphy: Why is that?
Julie Arbuckle: I don't want to‒ I don't‒ I just wanted to be able to call from wherever Ambrose was.
Detective Murphy: Why?
Julie Arbuckle: The man is dead. Does it make any difference now?
Detective Murphy: It might.
Julie Arbuckle: Ambrose has a‒ well, he has a drinking problem. I suppose I thought he might be drunk or passed out, and I wanted to have my phone handy, OK?
Detective Murphy: Did you touch Mr. Garrett? Try to wake him up?
Julie Arbuckle: No.
Detective Murphy: Why not?
Julie Arbuckle: He just didn't look right. His lips were so pale and his skin looked, I don't know, kind of translucent or strange. I just knew something wasn't right. I just called 911. I thought maybe it wasn't too late and they could help him.
Detective Armstrong: Did Ambrose Garrett have any health problems you're aware of?
Julie Arbuckle: Aside from the drinking, I don't think so. I don't really know though. You'd have to ask Delilah.
Detective Murphy: Did anything happen at the meeting tonight? Was anyone upset with Mr. Garrett?
Julie Arbuckle: People were always upset with Ambrose.
Detective Murphy: Was anyone in particular upset with him tonight?
Julie Arbuckle: I don't know. We can't talk about this anymore. Someone has to talk to Delilah. Someone has to tell her what's going on. She's going to be broken-hearted. She loves him so much. Someone's got to tell her.
Detective Armstrong: OK, ma'am. We understand this has been a very difficult night for you. The officers have already taken a set of your fingerprints, right?
Julie Arbuckle: Yes.
Detective Armstrong: OK, then. Why don't you go home now and try to relax. We'll have an officer escort you home. We'll need to talk to you again very soon, but we'll give you a little time to collect yourself and get some rest. We'll contact you tomorrow. And if you think of anything in the meantime, you know how to reach us, right?
Julie Arbuckle: You're going to talk to Delilah now?
Detective Armstrong: Yes, ma'am. As soon as we finish with you.
Julie Arbuckle: Good. You should do that. I'll talk to you tomorrow.
Interview ends - 11:47 p.m.